by R Rajagopalan | 03:49 PM June 13, 2017

Capital Buzz: Naidu is peeved with Shah, and PM Modi won't leave his ministers alone!

Capital Buzz: Presidential polls makes Naidu cross with Shah

So why did Amit Shah go to Venkaiah Naidu's home? 

On Tuesday morning, BJP Chief Amit Shah drove to Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu's bungalow and had breakfast with him. BJP circles are agog with speculation that the visit was primarily to soften Naidu, with regards to the new President and Vice President of India. 

It all seems to have begun with the inclusion of Naidu in the "search committee", set up to identify probable new allies to get votes for the BJP Presidential candidate. The 'Arun Jaitley - Rajnath Singh - Venkaiah Naidu' committee was constituted by Amit Shah.  

However, reports say Naidu is peeved over his inclusion since this means he been ruled out as a possible candidate.

BJP leaders now wonder whether Amit Shah will now meet Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley, much like how he drove to Naidu's house to taste the Andhra-made Pesarattu Upda for breakfast. Something much more is happening within the BJP, but no one can zero in on the key issue.

A galaxy of names as Presidential candidates

A whole galaxy of names for as Presidential candidates have been doing the rounds of New Delhi's political power corridors. 

If the names are listed out - that itself is a major gossip item in Central Hall types of places. The list is long - reaching up to two dozen names. Beginning with RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat (as suggested by the Shiv Sena), it goes on to people like Meira Kumar Gopalakrishna Gandhi and Dr Karan Singh by the Congress. 

Sharad Yadav, Dr Amartya Sen, Prakash Singh Badal, Sumitra Mahajan, Draupadi Murmu, Venkaiah Naidu, Taavarchand Gehlot, Sushma Swaraj and Ram Naik are some of the political names in the list. Very surprisingly, non-political names are also doing rounds - People like Ratan Tata, Narayana Murthy and 'Metro man' E Sreedharan.

For BJP, the major speculation is that Amit Shah and PM Modi have decided one name - which is being kept top secret. After the Opposition and the Rajnath-Jaitley-Naidu committee decides a name, the real name will come out from the BJP Parliamentary Board, sources say. 

Most likely the consensus candidate of the Opposition will be announced on Wednesday when the leaders of the Opposition meet at Sonia Gandhi's residence

PM Modi won't let his Union Ministers sit idle in Delhi. GST Chalo! 

The Prime Minister's Office is getting feedback from markets, farmers and (interestingly) from Intelligence sources that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be implemented from July 1, will have a major backlash. 

People are not yet convinced about the inclusion and exclusion of certain everyday items.  For example, while a cinema ticket is cheaper, Hotel accommodation is now costlier. 

How will you encourage tourism if a five-star room rent is rocket high?

PM Modi's close confidant Hashmuk Adhiya is an IAS officer from Gujarat, who is now in a pivotal position as Union Revenue Secretary. Adhiya's feedback, after he visited almost all state capitals to energise GST implementation at the bureaucratic level, is reportedly not that positive.

Sources say, to counter that PM Modi has asked his council of Ministers to interact with TV news channels and print media, to explain that GST will bring down prices - eventually. In the short term, like demonetization, people will have to withstand price differences for a few months. 

Visit state capitals; PM Modi is reported to have told them, do not spend time in New Delhi. Each Minister has been given one particular district in the country, this correspondent has learnt. From June 30 to July 5, each minister will be in a district headquarters to explain the salient features of the GST. 

A novel idea indeed.

(R Rajagopalan is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect those of Asianet Newsable. )

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